The bizarre removal from the Nkandla family homestead and subsequent detention by the State Security Agency (SSA) of maNtuli Zuma following unproven allegations six years ago of involvement in the “poisoning” of her husband Jacob Zuma had a sequel at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
In 2019, maNtuli instructed lawyer Ulrich Roux to write to National Prosecuting Authority head Shamila Batohi, to finalise the investigation against her, after awaiting her fate since 2015.
Referring to maNtuli’s detention in Durban North, SSA acting director-general Loyiso Jafta told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo: “There was a report in the media of an attempted murder of former president Jacob Zuma, allegedly by his wife – maNtuli. This matter was investigated by – among others – the State Security Agency.
“It was a private and public matter because you did not know whether he was being poisoned for being president or because of domestic considerations.
“Mrs Zuma was then in essence put in the custody of the State Security Agency. She was in remand detention, without having gone through due processes – kept against her will and without evidence.”
Zondo remarked: “If she was kept there against her will, that would be quite serious because it would be detention by an organ of state in circumstances where no law allowed an organ of state to detain her – quite serious.”
Jafta responded: “It is one example showing the straddling of the private and the public person of former president Zuma. I have to say that it is very difficult to determine with absolute certainty that a president has given an instruction or not.
“It does happen quite a lot and it must have happened that functionaries at various levels would anticipate what would be agreeable to the person of the president. What would please the president and take such initiatives, regardless of what the law says.
“I don’t want to create an impression that former president Zuma was always aware and consented to many of the things that were done, presumably for his benefit – either in his private or public capacity.
“When you assist and advance the political agenda of a faction associated with the president, you assist his private person.
“There are instances when our activities responded to his personal interest in his private capacity.”